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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012, 12-16 More on Evan

2012, 12-16 Tropical Cyclone Evan

Evans predicted path has now shifted a bit south which means we are soon to experience a bit more than was anticipated at the time I wrote to you yesterday. The models now show us firmly in the 50nmph band rather than the 35nmph that Bill was hoping for. Sometime in the next hour marina staff will drag the surge protection boom across the entrance to the marina and once it is in place the marina will be closed to any more incoming traffic.

It is hot and humid and strangely still inside the marina right now but we should soon begin to feel the edges of the storm. The winds are forecast to build through the night and by day break our wind instruments should be showing us at least 35nmph. Then Evans true colors will present tomorrow when we will find out just how well all of our preparations will hold up.

We spent a total of three full days in sweltering heat preparing for Evan. Island Bound is ready and so are we. We took things in steps first taking care of the absolutely must do items, then switching gears in anticipation of sustained 35nmph winds. Then today we redoubled our efforts in anticipation of a full on hit -just in case. The marina staff has been working tirelessly and so have almost all of the residents. In the end it felt like we spent as much energy working on other peoples boats as we did on Island Bound. Lucky us two boats on either side of us are unattended.

Of the four boats next to us three were well prepared and just needed a few tweaks but one -which should be upwind of us for the biggest hit of the storm- was left basically unprepared despite the fact that all boat owners are required by contract to be left in cyclone ready condition anytime they are left unattended. The boat was covered with very flimsy tarps and once we began unhooking the tarps in order to help the marina staff attach the anchor chain to the central cyclone ring we discovered there was all sorts of junk littering the decks.

I found life preservers, bits of wood, numerous four foot lengths of four inch hose, six empty diesel cans, lengths of plywood, plastic tubs, two dock boxes with heavy hinged lids left loose with no tie down or locks and a broken wooden oar. Every last bit is a potential damaging projectile in high winds. The anchor chain was not left prepped for attachment to the cyclone ring and and there are only two flat fenders on each side despite the fact that this is a 54 foot, 30 ton giant. Needless to say we were glad we were finished with our own preparation in time to do what we could for our neighbor. Truthfully we would have rather been sitting at the Boat Shed Restaurant drinking an icy cold soda and lime!

To prepare we added two additional lines with four foot chain segments quay side where the lines touch the concrete quay and added chafe gear -lengths of fire hose- to all the critical spots. On the bow we doubled our lines from two to four and added chafe gear there as well. Thanks again to Doug and Ruth on Angelique who gifted the fire hose to use years ago way back when we all lived on F-dock. I knew I kept packing it around for a good reason! Everything that can come off outside is now inside and everything that couldn't be removed is tied down. I've packed a small ditch bag with passports and boat papers and have room left over to add things as I think of them so we're ready to run for high ground if there is any physical danger.

Some of you may think we're crazy to plan on staying on the boat during the cyclone but don't forget Island Bound was designed for all that the oceans can dish out. We are far better off on board than we would be any place else on the island. We are fully self contained: we will have power while the rest of the island remains dark for days to come, we have cooking gas and a fridge full of food and cold drinks, we have plenty of water, a library of music and movies to keep us entertained and I even managed to get the boat clean despite the work we had to do. Now I guess it's time to sit back and rest. Talk to you soon. Kat

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